Phillips County Commissioners pass resolutions at most recent meeting
July 14, 2021
Redistricting lines within the State of Colorado and the development of the 30x30 program are both topics of resolutions passed by the Phillips County Commissioners recently.
In one resolution, the commissioners encourage the State to represent rural Colorado with the creation of two rural congressional districts and in the other, County officials oppose portions of President Joe Biden’s development of the 30x30 program.
Phillips County resolution 2021-14 concerns redistricting rural districts in Colorado to meet the unique needs that are “sometimes contrary” to the interests of Front Range communities.
Citing agriculture as a primary driver of many rural Colorado communities and other industries like energy production, the commissioners emphasize the difference in water needs from rural versus urban/suburban communities. The resolution also notes differences in Front Range communities compared to rural in areas of infrastructure, telecommunications and public transportation.
“Roughly one fourth of the population of the State of Colorado lives in these rural counties that rely on agriculture, energy production and tourism to drive their economy,” resolution 2021-14 says. “Drawing two rural districts allows the Congressional Redistricting Commission to better meet Constitutional requirements for compact districts with the remaining six congressional districts.”
In closing, the commissioners encourage the Redistricting Commission to ensure Colorado’s rural population is effectively represented through the creation of two fully rural, or near possible, districts.
A second resolution, 2021-15, passed by the county commissioners on the same day, opposes President Biden’s direction to conserve at least 30 percent of lands and water in the United States by 2030. Under the 30x30 program, some 680 million acres of the Nation’s lands would be set aside through conservation, preventing the productive use of these lands and their resources.
Phillips County contains roughly 434,418 acres of land in northeast Colorado. In the resolution passed recently, the commissioners argue that the President does not have authority to set aside and permanently conserve land and water in the U.S. and no such authority is referenced in Biden’s Executive Order, 14008.
“Placing private lands into permanent conservation status will cause dramatic and irreversible harm to the economics of many states, including Colorado, and in particular rural counties such as Phillips County, whose citizens depend on private lands for their livelihoods and recreation,” the resolution states.
In supporting the continued private ownership of land in the County and recognizing the needs for domestic sources of minerals, energy, timber, food, fiber and recreation, the commissioners also support the State of Colorado’s and private water rights systems. The commissioners oppose any Federal designation of waters and watercourses within the State and County that would impair or restrict water diversions.
The trio of county commissioners also acknowledge in the resolution that conservating lands does not assure its preservation. “Left in an undisturbed or natural state, these lands are highly susceptible to wildland wildfires, insect infestation and disease, all of which degrades the natural and human environments,” states a portion of the resolution.
In conclusion of the resolution, the commissioners state that should preservation of lands be made through the program, that it is done so only in acquiring lands from willing landowners only and with payment of full and fair market value.
Throughout the month of June the commissioners:
• Approved a bid from Weathercraft Companies to replace the roof at the Resource Center for $90,467 and to repair the Courthouse roof for $63,165;
• Approved the purchase of a Landa MHC 4-3500 pressure washer from Jantzen for $7,842 with funds from the Department of Local Affairs;
• Approved a recommendation from the Planning Commission to approve a subdivision exemption request submitted by Lester H. Weers Trust to sell 4.87 acres to Tyrone Weers located in the SE ¼ section 20, township 7, range 47;
• Accepted a recommendation from the Planning Commission to approve a subdivision exemption request submitted by Gary Koch to sell three acres to a buyer to be determined later located in the SE ¼ of Section 29, Township 8, Range 47;
• Approved a zone change from Ryan and Danyell Horton in the SE ¼ of section 17, township 7, range 47 for 2.5 acres of found from A-2 to commercial.
• Approved a request from Denise Smith to waive the rental fees for Homesteaders’ Park on July 15 for a Platte Valley Rodeo Bible Camp concert;
• Hired Gary Hershfeldt as a seasonal, part-time road and bridge employee;
• Approved changes for waste tires at the Phillips County Landfill. Changes include prices for super single truck tires, tractor tires, pivot irrigation tires and large tractor/small loader tires;
• Held an almost hour-long executive session to receive legal advice on specific legal questions.